Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Pan de Cristal (Glass Bread) #BBB

Are you ready for a challenge?  If you've been following the Bread Baking Babes for a while, you might have heard rumors of the infamous "croc" loaf.  A high hydration bread that left many bakers befuddled and possibly traumatized.  I hope I have not inflicted our babes with that experience again!  LOL.  So while I am hoping it will not be the case with this recipe, it is potentially one for the more experienced and/or adventurous baker!  This type of bread has been making the rounds recently and you may have seen a version on the Kind Arthur website.  That is the one we will go with, although there are sourdough options as well.  One stipulation, you really do need to use a very strong flour, or add some vital wheat gluten to your all purpose flour for this recipe.  King Arthur's bread flour is among the strongest readily available in the stores and the recipe is formulated for that strength.  (It's a bit too high in hydration for plain, all-purpose flour.  Ask me how I know...)

I've made the recipe four times in various versions to see what worked best.  I can recommend the KA yeast version as absolutely delicious IF you use a good bread flour!  My first was a fail with all purpose.  Trying to add more flour after deciding there was no saving the structure of the gluten just results in a poor bread crumb with no flavor.  Don't be scared though, we got reports of success from other Babes during the time we had for baking!  And it's okay to reduce the hydration (water) a little bit to get a bit more workable dough with still that nice open and chewy crumb.  It's almost as much a function of time and handling as it is hydration.  Let's compare:

100% hydration (yeast version)

73% hydration (sourdough version with some whole grain)

83% hydration (sourdough version)*

 *that last one has turmeric added for color and flavor.  They all have delicious and delightfully chewy crumbs, though there is something particularly special and springy about the higher hydration doughs.  You can see the shine of the hydrated gluten structure and it translates into the texture.  The wonderful thing about the 83% version is that I know it actually does work with all purpose flour as I have made it that way.  But it would be even easier and probably have more open structure with bread flour.  I will share this one as an accessible sourdough version.  (I did try a 106% hydration version with bread flour and it was not up to snuff for me.)

This recipe may be halved.  We really devoured this bread, it is absolutely delicious with butter.  The lower hydration options were beyond amazing with soup.  Will you be brave and try it out?  We would love to see your variations this month and share how it turned out! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Pan de Cristal (Glass Bread)
recipe from King Arthur Flour
makes 4 small breads

 500g water (If the hydration scares you, try it with 450g the first time)
 500g King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
 2.5g (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
 10g salt
 15g olive oil, for the pan

In a medium bowl, mix the water, flour, yeast, and salt until thoroughly combined and evenly hydrated. The dough will start off quite slack and wet. The structure will transform itself with time and folds.

Oil a two-quart rectangular or square baking dish (10” x 7”, or 9" square) with the olive oil.  (This dish is just for working the dough, not for baking.)  Pour the dough into the oiled pan.

Check the dough’s temperature with a digital thermometer inserted into the center.  If it is less than 72°F, move the pan to a warmer spot.  A cold oven with just the light turned on is an effective spot, or above the refrigerator.

Cover the pan and allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Start with an initial bowl fold: Wet your wet hands and scoop under to grab a section of dough from one side, lift it up, then press it down into the middle. Repeat this eight to 12 times all around the edges.

Cover the dish and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Then do a coil fold: Wet hands again and reach under the dough, stretching the middle upward until the dough releases from the dish. Roll it forward off your hands, allowing it to fold over (or “coil”) on itself. This is called a coil fold. Depending on the strength of your flour, this may need to be done in smaller sections initially.  Rotate the dish 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat. Continue performing this folding action until the dough feels like it won’t stretch and elongate easily, usually four to five times initially.  This technique will be repeated three more times, each time building strength and developing the dough.

Cover the pan and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Repeat the coil fold as previously described.  Cover and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

By this point, the dough should be easier to handle and feel tighter.  Repeat the coil fold using only two or three folds this time.  Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Repeat the coil fold one last time, using only one or two folds if the dough is relatively strong. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for about 80 minutes before shaping.  (If the dough does not feel fairly springy at this stage, another series or two of coil folds with rests may be necessary.)

As gently as possible, turn/flip the dough out onto a heavily floured surface, maintaining the rectangle or square shape.  Take care not to deflate the delicate dough.  Sprinkle a good amount of flour on top of the dough, leaving no exposed sticky spots. Working as gently as possible, use a bench knife or other sharp knife to divide the dough into four pieces. Gently maneuver two pieces onto a piece of parchment, leaving space between them. Do the same with the remaining two pieces of dough, placing them onto another piece of parchment.

Let the loaves rest at room temperature for 2 hours, uncovered.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°F with a baking stone or steel on a lower rack.  Give the oven an hour to heat up fully.  The loaves will be ready for the oven when there are a few large bubbles on the surface of each, and they feel light and airy.

Once ready to bake, carefully slide the two loaves (with their parchment) into the oven onto the preheated stone or steel.  Cut the parchment if necessary to fit on the baking space.  Let the other two loaves to continue to rest while the first are baking.

Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then transfer them, from the stone or steel, directly onto a rack in the upper third of the oven for an additional 13 to 15 minutes. (Leave the stone in place.) Moving them to the rack allows the baking stone or steel to become hot again in preparation for the next two loaves. After a total of 27 to 30 minutes of baking, remove the loaves from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack.  (You can alternately bake the loaves fully on the stone and allow at least 15 minutes for it to reheat before baking the next batch.)

Repeat the process with the two remaining loaves.  Cool the bread fully before slicing.

Bread is best on the first day but may be wrapped loosely and stored at room temperature for up to several days; freeze for longer storage.  Refresh in a hot oven for a few minutes.

Sourdough version (Plan ahead - two day recipe)
makes 2 loaves

440g bread flour (all purpose works but should add another coil foil or two)
365g water (you can push this up to 396g if using bread flour for a 90% hydration dough)
100g active sourdough starter
10g sea salt

8am – For the starter; combine 20g fed sourdough starter, 40g flour, and 40g water. Starter should be used right at its peak, after about 4½ to 5 hours.

9:30am – Combine flour and water in a bowl.  Mix well and let rest for about 3 hours, until starter is ready.

12:30pm – Wet your hand, add starter to the dough.  Mix by hand, scooping up and over the edges until incorporated, about 5 mins. Cover and rest for 30 mins.

1:00pm – Add salt and mix with a wet hand until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Cover and rest for 1 hour.

2:00pm – Mist your work surface with water and wet your hands. Transfer dough onto the surface and gently pull from the center out to form a rectangle shape. Scoop up one edge and fold into the center. Pick up other edge and fold into the center over first section. Fold the top down half way. Fold the bottom up. Put dough in a large dish. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

2:45pm – First Coil Fold*.  Lift the dough from the middle with both hands. The four fingers will be on the underside, below the dough and only the thumbs are above the dough. Lift the dough and place it on the dish like a coil. Do this once from each side.  Cover and rest for 45 mins.

3:30pm – Second Coil Fold. Repeat the same. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

4:15pm – Third Coil Fold. Repeat the same. Cover and rest for 45 mins.

(If using all purpose flour, you may want to do a couple more folds to increase structure.  Try 5 folds every 30 minutes.)

5:00pm – Transfer dough to a lightly oiled square pan if not already using one.  Cover and move to the refrigerator for 12 - 16 hours.

7:00-9:00am (the next morning) – Preheat oven and baking stone at 475ºF for 30 mins. Take bread dough out from the fridge and carefully invert onto a well floured surface, taking care not to deflate.  Dust with flour and divide into two loaves with a bench knife or sharp knife as desired.  Gently transfer the dough to parchment paper and let rest for an hour or until bubbles have formed on the top and the dough looks light and airy.  Bake with steam at 475ºF for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 425ºF, and continue baking for another 15-20 mins.  Remove bread from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.  Bread may then be reheated in oven if warm bread is desired.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes


Monday, March 14, 2022

Creamy Lime Pie

Happy Pi Day!  Here is a luscious key lime type of pie that can serve as a St. Patrick's or April Fool's pie as well.  Don't worry, it is absolutely silky and delicious and, dare we say, slightly more nutritious than your typical key lime offering, though richer and very satisfying as well.  It comes from our local fruit market.

Avocados are one of those super foods that just do so much good for the body! Avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium.  (Just about everyone is magnesium deficient.)  They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids, and contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fuller between meals. In this case, those healthful fats can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates and help maintain a more even blood sugar after indulging in this treat!  As an added bonus, they contribute to a super creamy, decadent filling.

 This version of key lime pie is naturally egg free for those with allergies, and can also be made vegan for your friends that prefer it that way by using
sweetened condensed coconut milk, ½-¾ tsp agar flakes for the gelatin, and vegan grahams and butter.  Then top it with non-dairy whipped topping or whipped coconut cream.  (Note that the coconut milk comes in different sized cans and will take more than one.) It is also perfectly acceptable to use a pre-made crust if desired.  (One change I made to this recipe was to reduce the gelatin quantity.  The filling will set fine, but I wanted less of a noticeable gelled texture and more of a creamy texture.) My kiddo that does not typically like pies loved this one!  When I told her about the avocados she was highly amused.  Evidently a tik-tok personality she likes made a similar vintage pie so she guessed right away when I asked her what she thought made it green.  My eldest actually came and asked for another piece the next day!  This kiddo usually does not go back for seconds.  Pie wins.

Creamy Lime Pie

cup lime juice
¼ cup lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons this time, which are not quite as tart as regular)
1 tsp unflavored gelatin (reduced from a whole packet)
3 mashed avocados (~1½ cups mashed avocado)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
zest of one lime
optional lime twists for garnish

1½ cups heavy cream (use coconut cream or non-dairy whipped topping for vegan)
2 tbsp powdered sugar

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (choose vegan grahams)
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
6 tbsp butter, (melted) add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter (use vegan butter for that option)

In a food processor, pulverize graham crackers to fine crumbs.  Pulse in the brown sugar until no lumps remain.  Add melted butter and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened.  Press the mixture firmly across the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie pan.  Place in the freezer to chill. (Alternatively, you can bake the crust in the oven at 350ºF for 10 minutes.)

In a small bowl, combine juices and gelatin so there are no lumps, and set aside.  Halve and pit the avocados and scoop out the fruit.  In a blender or food processor combine avocados and milk.  Process until very smooth.  (It will be quite thick.)  Heat the lime juice mixture just until gelatin is melted, 20 seconds in the microwave or stirred over low heat.  Add juice mixture to avocado mix and blend.  Immediately pour into prepared pie shell and chill 4 hours.

For the topping, whip the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Scoop or pipe onto the edge or center of the pie as desired.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Fun with Waterford Blaas #BreadBakers

 This month, our BreadBakers host has settled on the challenge of making Irish or St. Patrick's inspired breads.  There are quite a lot of quick leavened bread options from Ireland, but fewer yeast raised breads that I could find.  One of these is the Waterford Blaa, which I might have disastrously compared to a Scottish Bap if I hadn't seen that the latter is a more enriched dough than the blaa.  (I suppose I could be excused as I have both Scottish and Irish roots, but the Irish are more recent.)  My great grandmother Maloney came over from Ireland with her widowed mother to America and married my great granddad, and those stories need to be written down by my mom so we can remember!   I understand that it is hard to find a "decent" Waterford Blaa outside of county Waterford and that it is practically a protected recipe now, like Champagne or Parmesan, needing to actually be made in the region to qualify.  Therefore, I am using an authentic recipe, but also having some fun with it in shaping to honor Ireland and St. Patrick's day.

It was quite fortuitous that my full batch of Blaa dough gave me exactly the amount I needed to make one dinner's worth of Blaas, one full lucky shamrock to commemorate the wearing of the green, as well as a half batch of lemon cloverleaf rolls as another shamrock treat.  I do love the old Irish air, The Wearing of the Green, though it always makes me sad to hear.  Fortunately, I am currently tasting the cloverleaf rolls... and holy hand grenades, they are tasty!  I would make this dough again just to make these!  The Blaas are super soft and fluffy, but not airy, with a lovely chew and flavor to the crumb from the multiple rises.  Looking forward to trying them out with butter and marmalade as they were a traditional breakfast roll.  They are also quite popular eaten buttered, with rashers or bacon.

 Waterford Blaas
makes 12 buns

⅔ cup (5floz/142ml) warm water
1½ (.5oz/14g) tablespoons dry active yeast (that's two packets)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cups (10½ floz/300ml) water
1½ tsp salt
5½ cups (1¾ lbs/780g) bread flour (I used half bread flour, half all purpose flour)

In a glass measure, combine the ⅔ cup warm water, yeast, and sugar and stir until dissolved.  Allow to activate for 5-10 minutes until bubbly.

Mix the salt into the flour.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour followed by the remaining water, a little at a time, mixing until the dough forms a ball and cleans the bottom of the bowl.

Once the dough comes together, knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the dough should feel smooth and elastic, stretching without breaking.

Cover and allow to proof for about one hour in a warm spot.

After one hour the dough should have at least doubled in size.

Knock the dough back, reform into a ball, and then return it to the bowl for a second proof. This should take about 30-40 minutes.

After the second rise turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently cut it into 12 even-sized pieces. About piece should be around 90g/3oz in weight.

Roll gently between your palms to form each roll into a nice round shape. Place the rolls about 1 inch apart in a baking pan (about 9x13-in.)

Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow to proof once more for 45-60 minutes.  This third proof is where the rolls will take on their distinctive flavor.

Dust the top of the rolls with a bit of flour and bake at 425°F ( 210°C) in a pre-heated oven for about 25-35 minutes. The rolls should have crisp bottoms when fully baked and should not be too brown on top.

Enjoy with Irish butter and jam for breakfast or butter and rashers (or bacon) in the middle. Store at room temperature for 2 days. These rolls freeze well for up to 6 weeks also and will reheat beautifully in the oven.

(From my full batch of dough, I took four 90g pieces for my blaas, eight 50g pieces for my shamrock, and six 80g pieces for my cloverleaf buns.  The shamrock was shaped as if making a heart shaped pretzel, with two pieces joined at the point, then folding the arms around and under to make a hugging heart.  Then four hearts are combined for a lucky shamrock.  Three hearts would make a regular shamrock which would typically have a stem placed in between two leaves.  The shamrock is glazed with an egg wash and baked at 375ºF for 20 minutes, covering with foil at the final 5 minutes to prevent over-browning if necessary.)

For the cloverleaf rolls, the dough is portioned into three small pieces per roll.  I made six rolls, here are the proportions for a full batch of 12 rolls:
(Each of my rolls was 80g, divided into three 26-27g pieces, using a full batch of blaa dough, they would be 90g rolls divided into 30g each)

zest from 2 medium size lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Rub the lemon zest into the sugar.  Grease a muffin tin.  Dip each piece of dough into the butter and then into the sugar mixture and place three pieces into each muffin cup.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 10-12 minutes. Remove from pan immediately to cooling rack.

Combine icing ingredients and mix well. Drizzle over rolls while still warm.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 Be sure to check out the rest of our bakers' breads this month!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.